(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) – The investiture ceremony will be held at the Presidential Secretariat on May 19 under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena to confer Vishishta Seva Vibhushana (VSV) medals to military personnel who rendered a great service to end the war.
The Vishishta Seva Vibhushana Medal is the highest medal given to senior officers in the country’s Armed Forces.
“The President will award medals to senior military officers of the Tri-Forces, both retired and currently serving.
The award is for senior officers who have shown an unblemished military record. This year, persons who commanded troops on the battle field will be receiving this award.
“These are not the military actors we had before, but those unsung heroes who had rendered a great service to the nation.
“The parchment will be signed by the President himself and it is a very important document for a soldier,” Army Commander Lt.Gen. Mahesh Senanayake said.
Despite the Army being involved in assisting the people of the North in many aspects of their lives and the resettlement process, there are numerous calls for the withdrawal of the military from the North.
When asked what the Army’s role is in the post war era, Lt.Gen.Senanayake said, “It is how the different segments of society look at the issue.”
Politically, there are parties that want the Army out because that is a promise they have made politically. But, that is not what the real population needs.
The Army is the only organisation that has the capacity in the North and East after 30 years of war. We use our capacity and policies for the benefit of the Northern people.”
The Commander noted that the soldiers were engaged in building houses for the people of the North and even the ex-LTTE cadres were rehabilitated, while they themselves have no house of their own. “That is our commitment and discipline to ensure there is no more war.
“Our role is to engage and assist. In the Jaffna peninsula, the Army has been engaging with those people from 1996 after Operation Riviresa. But, in Killinochchi and the Vanni we cleared the land only after 2008 and 2009 so the people there know us for a relatively shorter period. Our relationship with the people in the peninsula is around 22 years, it’s a generation. Hence, in time the people in Killinochchi and the Vanni too will understand us better. But by then the politicians will not like it. But, we don’t care about politics and our commitment is to ensure that there is never another war in this country,” the Army Commander added.
However, the Commander noted that there are several bad eggs even in the Army, but said that the majority of them are committed to helping the people.